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The Enchantress

Hong Kong 1983
produced by
Mona Fong for Shaw Brothers
directed by Chu Yuan (= Chor Yuen)
starring Tony Liu, Max Mok (= Mok Siu Chung), Yung Jing-Jing (as Mary Jean Reimer Lau), Yim Chau-wah, Lo Lieh, Yueh Hua, Norman Chu, Ku Kuan-chung, Erik Chan Ka Kei, Chan Kwok Kuen, Chan Yung, Chi Kuang-hung, Ching Miao, Chiu Man Yan, Huang Pei Chi, Kuan Feng, Philip Kwok, Lam Wai, Li Heng, Ling Chih Hung, Lu Hung, Ouyang Sha-fei, Tsai Kuo-kuang, Elvis Tsui, Wei Tien Tsai, Wong Chi Ming, Yang Chih-Ching, Yuen Bun, Yuen Wah, Yue Tau Wan
story by Huang Ying, music by Shing Chin Yung, Su Chen-hou

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Young swordsman Feng Xiwu (Max Mok) visits Moonlit Sky Palace out of curiosity mainly, because according to legend, many a swordsmaster has visited the Palace but none has left it alive. Near the Palace, he saves a girl, Shuiling (Yung Jing-Jing), from a gang of rapist, and is then invited by her mother Tianjiao (Yim Chau-wah), a Japanese princess, to Moonlit Sky Palace ... where he is poisoned, mainly because Tianjiao bears a grudge against his father. Shuiling however refuses to let her saviour die, so she somehow gets him out of the palace and manages to suck the poison out of his body. Her mother, who is really an evil spirit, has foreseen that and has possessed her. But that means that now that the sun comes up, the girl grows weak, and Feng Xiwu takes her from one master to the next to cure her, until Master Xinying (Tony Liu) manages to get her mother's evil spirit out of the girl, and he and his disciples fight Tianjiao and almost manage to kill her, too ... when against all expectations, Master Xinying saves her life and lets her escape - because 18 years ago, he was her husband, but then all other masters from the martial arts world conspired to kill her because she was Japanese, and he did nothing to stop them. Tianjiao has since become a vengeful spirit, but Xinying knows the blame is at least in part his.

Having been set free by Xinying, Tianjiao goes on a mission - to erradicate the entire martial arts world. This gets Xinying, Feng Xiwu and even her daughter Shuiling worried, so they turn to the almost all powerful Master Purple Robe for help, who in turn calls on the 7 Stars of the Galaxy, the Spirit of the Sword, Princess Qingxia and even Buddha for support, because Tianjiao has since made hell itself her headquarters and has revived all those who have been killed with her 18 years ago to help her on her vengeful path. After a finale full of magic, martial arts, light rays, exploding bodies and the like, Xinying realizes the only way to defeat Tianjiao and help his friends escape from hell is to give his own life, which he has promised her long ago, and ultimately he lets her possess him then kills himself and her both ...

 

This is Chu Yuan at his best: A completely over-the-top martial arts tale that drifts off into fantasy territory ever so often without becoming silly, set in beautiful and extremely colourful sets and costumes, with an expert use of colours to create atmosphere, an expert use of his obviously studiobound sets to create a world all of their own, many a macabre detail - but above all else, lots of action. And even if the martial arts are somewhat lame in execution not only from today's point of view, they are enrichened with so many over-the-top ideas and breathtaking elements that it's pure joy watching the whole film unfold.

Admittedly though, this might not be Chu Yuan's most intelligent film - but while watching, you simply can't help enjoying the madness going on onscreen.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD

 

 

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